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|A linguistic study of Limbu Mundhum
|Tumbahang, Mohan Kumar
|The Limbu is one of the dominant languages of the Tibeto-Burman language family. Though the native speakers of the Limbu designate themselves as the Yakthungba, and their language Yakthungba Pan, they are referred to as the ethnonym ‘Limbu’. The Limbu natives belong to the Kirant confederation. Their ancestral and original stronghold spans from the Arun River in Nepal to the kingdom of Sikkim in the east. The Limbu have their own script called Sirijanga. There are many books written in this language. Their faith is enshrined in the ever green grass (dubo) whose botanical name is cynodondactylon and the rock (dhungo). The population of the Limbu according to the Census (2011 AD) is 367,300 and the number of the native speakers is 343,603 which are 1.46% and 1.29% respectively of the national total population (26,394,504). The religious scripture of the Limbu natives is called the Mundhum. There is a considerable difference between the language variety used in the ordinary speech and the language variety employed in the Mundhum. So, the apparent problem that lies in the Mundhum is why this Mundhum variety is commonly thought to be a very obscure and distinctly different from the ordinary speech variety. Likewise, the next problem is not being accessible to the average native speaker. This Mundhum variety is extremely limited to the handful of people especially the Limbu priests. This obviously indicates the danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. Now, the challenge is how this language variety can be preserved. In order to address and deal with the aforementioned problems, some specific objectives have been duly set. The main general objective is to analyze the linguistic features of the Mundhum language. To be more specific, the Mundhum language is necessary to be analyzed from its different linguistic levels i.e. phonological, morphological, semantic, syntactic, sociolinguistic and stylistic or even the pragmatic level through ethnographies of communication. These all levels are important to have a reasonable knowledge of certain language variety however the pragmatic level is more important to derive the contextual meaning of text or discourse. So in order to deal with this aspect better, the theory- ethnographies of communication has been considered and discussed. Keeping the set objectives in the mind, first of all, the popular and important Mundhum text (Yapmi Pongma Mundhum ‘The Origin of Man’) was recorded through ‘Audacity’ computer software. After the completion of edition, the edited material was transported to ‘Elan’ software. This software is for annotation in different needed versions like phonemic transcription, English translation and Nepali transliteration as well as translation. In this way, the ‘Audacity Sound Record’ was annotated in two different ‘Tiers’. Thereafter, the annotated version was transported to the ‘Tool Box’ software. In this software, the interlinearized process was held. Every morpheme was separately interlinearied with the text. The text has been presented in five different ‘Tiers’. Basically, I used this software for minute analysis of the morphemic break. In the process of interlinearizing the text, two different functions were held simultaneously that was, morphemic break and glossary. The first chapter gives a brief sketch of problematic area of the study, the objectives of the study, the significance of the study, delimitations, literature review, research methodology applied and outline of the study. Likewise, the second chapter deals with the Limbu language, the native people, number of native speakers and the dialectal variations. The third unit discusses socio-cultural aspects in which it focuses the Mundhum, its types, the diverse roles of the Mundhum, in Limbu community, its present relevance and so forth. It also discusses about special contexts through the ethnographic perspectives and above all, it deals with the attitude of the Limbu natives towards the Mundhum. The fourth chapter is devoted to the phonology of the Limbu in which it discusses on the sound system and its application in the Mundhum. Likewise, the fifth chapter deals with morphological make-up both in ordinary communicative form and the Mundhum language. As a matter of fact, the Limbu language is complex pronominalized agglutinating language. In this regard, the verb conjugation presents a tough challenge to the linguists. So, it has been dealt with much care in the process of analysis. After that, the Mundhum morphology is another aspect of complexity especially created by the massive use of archaic, obsolete diction and distinctly different affixation. The sixth chapter precisely discusses the syntactic structure of Limbu Mundhm. The seventh chapter is primarily about looking the Mundhum from the literary perspective. In it, what literary features are found in the Mundhum language is the main concern here. Likewise, the discussion of the Mundhum has been done in terms of stylistic as well as archetypal point of view. The final unit is the eighth one which deals with the summary and conclusion of the study.
|A dissertation submitted to the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Tribhuvan University in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor pf Philosophy in Linguistics, Tribhuvan University, Nepal, 2-13.
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